“Do you think its because your Grandpa loved [making tamales] so much?” asked my dear cousin-Auntie this weekend. As some of you know, my weekend was spent touring wedding venues with my parents. No, I am not getting married, but in the lovely mix of modern, multi-cultural unions, and fierce sibling solidarity, I found myself driving my parents around to different venues. We were looking for a place to host a celebration for my
brother, who will be married abroad parents to have a party in my brother’s name, and at each stop my father asked about tamales.
My cousin’s question struck me because thinking of my late grandfather, and others who I love, I realize that we often use their loves to speak of them. “He loved the Astros.” “She loved to dance.” “Those kids were her joy.” That realization, that thought, it is one I have returned to frequently in the last few days.
Because, how wonderful it is to remember that we will be defined by our love, not by our failures, or the way that we fell short? That if we can just love fiercely enough, we will be a light to those who remember us? It is a beautiful thought and one that renews my commitment to love those around me and the things that bring me joy, and to let everything else fade.
A few years ago, I went to a speaker at my church. She was funny, thoughtful, and had the exact words and questions that I needed at the time. But I still remember how she explained the Saints, “the Saints are simply those who fell in love. . .and followed their beloved where He led them.” For those of you not familiar with the Saints (big “S,”) in Catholicism, we believe that they are people who are surely in Heaven, they are named. Of course there are many others (small “s”) rejoicing in Heaven, and it is those (small “s”) that we celebrate on all-saint’s day. But I digress.
What I take from that is that it is that fierce love can also lead us to the place(s) we most want to be, whether that is Heaven for my Christians, or another place for our sisters of other beliefs. So take what you need from this my dear Aunties. It is a good time to commit to what we love as we enter into the holidays. I am going to love the littles a little more, spend more time listening to bands, and generally find more joy to dance in. I hope you do the same.